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Claiming the Tax Exemption for Children of Divorced or Separated Parents

When settling a divorce case the issue of which parent is going to claim the dependent child exemption on his/her tax return should be settled. Experience has demonstrated that failure to settle this at the time of the divorce will often lead to future disputes between the parties and between a parent and the revenue authorities.

Often the non-custodial parent who is paying most of the child support will try to claim the exemption but will not be entitled to it. However, if the parties agree, they can have the agreement or the judgment settle this matter.

When parents are divorced or have been living apart during the last six months of the tax year the custodial parent is generally treated as having provided over half of the support for the child and is therefore entitled to claim the exemption. 

However, if the parents together have paid more than half of the dependent child's support and the custodial parent agrees not to claim the exemption by signing a statement to this effect and the non-custodial parent attaches this to his return then he can claim the exemption.

The Internal Revenue Service provides Form 8332 for that purpose.  If the separation agreement or the judgment to be effective after the year 1984 provides for the non-custodial parent to have the exemption this can be attached to the non-custodial parent's tax return.

If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the court may make an order regarding the claim of personal exemptions for child dependents between the parties to the extend permitted by law.

If you have questions regarding child support and tax exemptions contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar for a free initial consultation.

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Law Offices of Renee Lazar
4308 Thompson Farm
Bedford, MA 01730
Phone: 978-844-4095
Fax: 781-687-5807
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